According to a recent survey, three out of every four Americans believe that our planet will be visited by extraterrestrials within the next 100 years. Whether the visitors are hostile bug-like overlords or cute little piles of goo, it seems to be a foregone conclusion that little green men will eventually visit our mud ball. You want to be ready when they land, right? So start out by watching a few sci-fi flicks.

As you look over our list, consider the following important questions:

  • What is man’s (and woman’s) purpose in the universe?
  • Is it possible to create an artificial intelligence that could out-think humans?
  • Would a visiting extraterrestrial be violent or peaceful?
  • How long will it be until everyday people travel through space?
  • Who ate all of my Doritos?!

1. ALIENS (1986)

That's right, we're giving our thumbs up to the second film. Don't get us wrong, Alien was great, but Aliens joins the pantheon of Godfather II and Toy Story 2 as films where the sequel improved upon the original. The second film is scarier, more suspenseful, has better special effects, and is all around kick-ass-er.

Fifty-seven years ago, Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) was on a team that explored a planet that just happened to be infested with huge nasty people-eating aliens. Ripley was the only one to get off the planet alive, and she goes into a cryogenic sleep until someone can find her damaged space ship. That's where Aliens picks up . . . Ripley is awakened from her 57-year cryogenic siesta to discover that "The Government" sent a whole slew of people to the alien planet to colonize it. However, all contact has been lost, and the crew that found Ripley has been sent to the planet to see what happened. Understandably, Ripley freaks out and tries to prevent anyone from going back to the planet, but when her protestations fall on deaf ears, she sadly agrees to join the mission, believing that she can help the crew get through the mission alive.

But all this plot means jack-squat. This is a classic sci-fi/action movie that is so packed with tension and surprise, that you'll have trouble not pressing the pause button to get a breather. And in the center of all the action is the talented Ms. Ripley.

As Ripley, Sigourney Weaver turns in nothing short of an amazing performance. Think about it . . . what other woman has been so capable an action hero? How many actors get nominated for Oscars in a role that is almost pure action? The reason is because Sigourney lets you see that Ripley is human, not a Schwarzeneggerian mass of muscle. For instance, at one point, Ripley teams up with a 7-year-old girl named Newt, putting her in the dual roles of mother and warrior. In most movies, the little girl would be a wisecracking sidekick, but not here. Instead, Newt keeps Ripley human, preventing her from becoming a killing machine. In a way, Ripley is a classic anti-hero. She doesn't want to fight (she doesn't even want to return to the planet), but when cornered, she can kick bootie along with the best of them.


  • The second in a series of 4: Alien, Aliens, Alien³, and Alien: Resurrection

  • Nominated for 7 Academy Awards, including Best Actress and Score

  • Won 2 Academy Awards: Best Visual Effects and Sound Effects Editing